For Project Management – BrightWork on SharePoint or Microsoft Project Server?
Of course, the answer is – “it depends”. In certain scenarios, you can and may need to use both platforms. In fact, as organizations mature their work, project, and portfolio management, we see the latter scenario as more usual.
It is also important to point out that BrightWork is a partner with Microsoft’s PPM and Application Developer competencies.
For that reason, we are not comfortable competing with Microsoft Project Server/Project for the web, and see no benefits to our customers to do so. To compete would imply we are a real alternative ‘either/or’ choice, which is not the case.
The next question is often: “What are the main product differences between BrightWork for SharePoint, Microsoft Project Server, and Project for the web?”
BrightWork and Microsoft Project Server
At BrightWork, we believe Project Server/ Project for the web is a great product. It is ideal for highly structured projects with rigorous project management processes.
All projects in Project Server need to be structured and have a Microsoft Project plan.
Microsoft Project Server provides the following three extras over BrightWork:
- Enterprise Resource Levelling and Costing.
- Inter-project dependencies.
- Visual Portfolio Optimization.
However, Microsoft Project Server is not designed or intended for a mix of:
- Smaller, less formal projects (that may have no or very few tasks).
- Medium sized projects (that may not have a Work Breakdown Structure).
- Larger projects (with or without Microsoft plans).
- Non-project-work (e.g. support requests, tasks, etc.).
BrightWork serves these needs. Think of Project Server/ Project for the web as “everything is very structured” and BrightWork as a “a mix of structured and unstructured”.
BrightWork and Microsoft Project Server do work well together.
Thanks to the bi-directional sync between SharePoint and Microsoft Project Professional, project managers can update the project schedule in BrightWork and see the results in Project Server and vice versa.
When a team member updates a task in BrightWork, the information is synced with Microsoft Project Server– without the need for additional, expensive licenses.
The Project Structured Template in BrightWork provides an Enhanced Microsoft Project Schedule Sync. This capability allows project managers to sync extra auto-calculated information into SharePoint such as baselines and variances for work, effort, and cost.
The table below provides more details on the commonalities and differences between BrightWork and Microsoft Project Server.
BrightWork and Microsoft Project Server Comparison Table
|Feature||BrightWork||MS Project Server|
|Web-based project management||✔||✔|
|Tasks, Documents, Risk, Issues, etc.||✔||✔|
|Microsoft Office Integration||✔||✔|
|Microsoft SharePoint Integration||✔||✔|
|Cost to implement||Low||High|
|Template Delivery Mechanism||SharePoint Project Templates Included||Build your own with Microsoft Project Files|
|Refresh from Central Template||Automated||Manual|
|Project and Portfolio Reporting Mechanism||BrightWork Dashboards and Charts on SharePoint||SQL Reporting Services|
|Personal Dashboard Reporting||End User Configurable||SQL Reporting Services|
|Project Types Supported||Loose, Semi, and Structured||Structured|
|Microsoft Project Professional Desktop Integration||Optional||Recommended|
|Project Management Maturity Level||Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced||Advanced|
|Underlying Microsoft Platforms Deployed|
Microsoft SharePoint Foundation, Server, or Enterprise Versions
SharePoint Enterprise Server and Microsoft Project Server
|Deployment||Smaller Effort||Larger Effort|
|Enterprise Timesheet Capability||Available as Add-on||Included|
|Graphical Portfolio Optimization||Basic Version available||Included|
|Auto Calculate Inter-Project Dependencies||Requires Customization||Included|
|Enterprise Resource Levelling & Management||Basic version available||Included|